Supporting with the Original Material

This is the only option when you print with one extruder. Using this process, the necessary support is printed with the same material as the product. This method is simple to use; you only need one material. Such support structures can be generated by a slicing software package, such as simplify 3D. Note that it is important not to use too much supporting material, as supporting structures of the same material are more difficult to remove from the model than other options.

Supporting with PVA Filament

There are various special support filaments available that are completely soluble, and PVA is one of them. You need a 3D printer with a double extruder to be able to print with PVA. PVA stands for polyvinyl alcohol and is a soft, biodegradable polymer that is very prone to moisture. As PVA is exposed to sunlight, it dissolves. This is also ideal as a support material for 3D printing. After printing, the filament can be quickly extracted by dissolving it in cold or warm water. PVA is still used in conjunction with PLA filament, but is now also added more and more to other filaments such as PET-G. In addition, there are several new modifications that make it possible to use PVA with higher temperatures.

Supporting with PVA+ Filament

Previously, HIPS was mostly used as support material for ABS printing. With the arrival of PVA+, HIPS is used much less. The explanation for this move is that HIPS must be dissolved in limonene. It is a radioactive material that is difficult to acquire. HIPS is also often substituted by PVA+ (modified PVA), a filament that is easily soluble in water, much like PVA. At this time, PVA+ is being tested for its suitability to be combined with all other filaments. It is also necessary to use a double extruder for PVA+.

The major advantage of printing with support material is that it is quickly removed without leaving pieces behind or damaging the 3D model. The disadvantage is that support filaments are often more expensive than base filaments and can only be printed on a 3D printer with a double extruder.


  • 1. Explain the factors to be considered when choosing materials for additive manufacturing.
  • 2. Describe the multi-material and different composite additive manufacturing methods.
  • 3. What are the different metal AM processes and materials? Explain in detail.
  • 4. Explain the composite materials in details.
  • 5. Discuss biomaterials, hierarchical materials, and biomimetics.
  • 6. Explain ceramics and bio-ceramics materials.
  • 7. Briefly describe the history of biomimetic materials.
  • 8. Explain the concept of shape-memory materials, 4D printing, and bioactive materials.
  • 9. State and explain the different advanced AM materials.
  • 10. Explain support materials.

Multiple-Choice Questions

1. When choosing a material and 3D printing method for your project, make

sure your material suits the_needed for the application.

  • a) Certifications and/or key features
  • b) Color and appearance
  • c) Quality
  • d) None of the above Ans: (a)
  • 2. ABS materials have a_melting point.
  • a) Low
  • b) Moderate
  • c) High
  • d) Very low Ans: (c)
  • 3. Stainless steel is printed by fusion or_.
  • a) Stereolithography
  • b) Laser sintering
  • c) Material jetting
  • d) None of the above Ans: (b)
  • 4. Stereolithography (SLA) has been developed on the basis of_.
  • a) Photopolymerization phenomena
  • b) Material jetting
  • c) Drop on demand
  • d) None of the above Ans: (a)
  • 5. The sintering temperature of the printed ceramic component can affect the _fraction of the metal phase.
  • a) Viscosity and gravity
  • b) Thickness and length
  • c) Density and volume
  • d) All of the above Ans: (c)

6. The aluminum content is a combination of_and a very low

amount of gray aluminum powder.

  • a) Polylactide
  • b) Ceramic
  • c) Aluminum
  • d) Polyamide Ans: (d)
  • 7. The 3D printing of ceramics was first documented by Marcus et al. and Sachs

et al. in the_.

  • a) 1990s
  • b) 1980s
  • c) 1970s
  • d) 1960s Ans: (a)
  • 8. The 4D concept was first introduced into the architectural lexicon by Skylar

Tibbits in_.

  • a) 2005
  • b) 2008
  • c) 2009
  • d) 2013 Ans: (d)
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